Impeachment: Ondo deputy governor, Aiyedatiwa, asks judge to hands off case - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Monday, October 30, 2023

Impeachment: Ondo deputy governor, Aiyedatiwa, asks judge to hands off case

The embattled Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, on Monday, asked Justice Emeka Nwite to hands off the suit he filed to stop the plan by the State House of Assembly to impeach him from office over alleged acts of gross misconduct.

Aiyedatiwa, through his team of lawyers led by Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, urged the judge to suspend the proceedings before him, insisting that Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal is now seized of the facts of the case.

He told the court that both the Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly and the legislative house itself, who were cited as 4th and 6th defendants in the matter, went before the appellate court to set aside the interim order that stopped his planned impeachment.

He further told the court that the defendants had also filed an application for stay of proceedings. 

"The 4th and 6th defendants went on appeal, four days after the matter was adjourned for ruling. They said they no longer have confidence in the court.

"Since the matter is already before the Court of Appeal, going ahead with this proceedings will put this court on a collusion cause with a superior authority. 

"The defendants cannot approbate and reprobate. The appeal will impact on the proceedings of this court and as Ministers in the temple of justice, the defendants owe this court the sacred duty of full disclosure of any development that may affect the jurisdiction of the court.

"It was their duty to have brought the attention of the court to the fact that the appeal was entered since October 20. It is their action that robs this court of its jurisdiction.

"It will be neater and better to hands off and allow the appellate court to determine the matter," Aiyedatiwa's lawyer pleaded.

However, all the defendants, through their respective lawyers, urged Justice Nwite to refuse Aiyedatiwa's request and proceed with ruling on applications they filed to vacate the ex-parte order the court made on September 26, which halted the impeachment process.

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who is the 3rd defendant in the matter, through his counsel, Mr. Kassim Gbadamosi, accused Aiyedatiwa of subtly attempting to arrest the ruling of the court.

He wondered why the plaintiff, who did not file the appeal, would be the one asking for a stay of proceedings in the matter. 

"This matter has to do with the removal of a deputy Governor under the Constitution. 

"In view of the provisions of section 251 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and the subject matter herein, which is the basis and foundation upon which the plaintiff predicated his case, which is section 188, your lordship should strike out this suit. 

"The application by the plaintiff is akin to arresting your lordship's ruling, which is unknown to the law. We urge your lordship not to succumb to the request but to go ahead and deliver the ruling.

"The attempt by the plaintiff to arrest the ruling was not even done in consonance with the law. They did not file for stay of proceeding. What we have here is an oral application to arrest the ruling of this court. 

"More over, the appeal  by the 4th defendant is against an exparte order. It cannot be said categorically that an appeal has been entered because they have a motion for extension of time to file record of appeal, which they have taken to the Court of Appeal. 

"Assuming that the record has been entered, which we are not conceding, position of the law is that entering of an appeal does not operate as a stay of proceeding or stay of execution of an order of court. 

"The rules requires a party to file for stay of proceeding/ execution, even when an appeal has been entered.

"We filed a motion to set aside the exparte order as well as for dismissal of the substantive suit. 

"Our position is that this court does not have jurisdiction at all to entertain the suit. 

"Even what we are doing now, we are saying your lordship does not have the power to do it. 

"That a party exercised its right of appeal does not mean that such party does not have confidence in the court as being suggested.

"However, in the most unlikely event that your lordship may want to succumb to the temptation of the plaintiff, since the application is coming from a plaintiff that filed an affidavit of urgency before this court, in view of other equally fundamental development in the matter since the last proceedings, I will be praying my lord to make a pronouncement that the ex-parte injunction itself, is now invalid by efflusion of time," governor Akeredolu's lawyer argued. 

Aside from praying the court to vacate the ex-parte order which they insisted had since elapsed, the defendants, urged the court to strike out Aiyedatiwa's suit.

After he had listened to all the parties, Justice Nwite fixed November 17 to deliver his ruling. 

It will be recalled that the court had ordered the Ondo State House of Assembly to suspend the impeachment process, pending the hearing and determination of the suit that was brought before it by the deputy governor.
The plaintiff had among other things, prayed the court to stop governor Akeredolu, SAN, from nominating a new deputy governor and forwarding same to the Ondo state House of Assembly for confirmation, pending the determination of the suit.

Cited as 1st to 6th defendants in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1294/2023, were; the Inspector-General of Police, the Department of State Services, DSS, governor Akeredoku, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Chief Judge of Ondo State, as well as the House of Assembly itself. 

After he heard the ex-parte motion that was accompanied with an affidavit of urgency, Justice Nwite held that it was in the interest of justice to issue the interim preservative orders. 

Justice Nwite equally issued an order of interim injunction, restraining governor Akeredolu, his servants or privies, from harassing, intimidating, embarrassing and preventing Aiyedatiwa from carrying out the functions of his office as deputy governor of Ondo State, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter.

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